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To the Contrary With Bonnie Erbe

News/Business. (2011) Birth control and insurance; same-sex marriage in New York. New. (CC) (Stereo)

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Pakistan 5, Anne Mulcahy 5, Us 4, Doma 3, Ethiopia 3, New York 2, Bonnie Erbe 2, Haiti 2, Obama 2, Kathleen Sebelius 2, Angelina Jolie 1, Uruguay 1, Lot Of U.s.a. 1, U.n. 1, Obama Administration 1, Legal Union Between 1, Fda 1, Albany 1, Washington 1, Norton 1,
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  WETA    To the Contrary With Bonnie Erbe    News/Business.  (2011) Birth control and  
   insurance; same-sex marriage in New York. New. (CC) (Stereo)  

    July 24, 2011
    9:30 - 10:00am EDT  

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funding for the "to the contrary" provided by... funding for "to the contrary" provided by... additional funding provided by... this week on to the to the with bonnie erbe. up first, a recommendation to make birth control free-for-all women. then wedding bells ring in new york as some senators work to overturn the defense of marriage act.
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behind the headlines, former xerox c.e.o. anne mulcahy discusses her new role of helping women and children discusses her new role of helping women and children around the world. [♪] >> i'm cokie roberts in for bonnie erbe. welcome to "to the contrary". a discussion of news and social trends from diverse perspectives. up first, free contraception. birth control may soon be free to women as part of healthcare reform. this week the panel from the institute of medicine recommended insurance companies cover contraceptive medications and treatments fully with no co-pays, no cost sharing. experts say coverage for birth control is preventative and should be free to women through their
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insurance. opponents say this treats pregnancy like a disease and people should not be required to pay into insurance companies that provide birth control. health and human services secretary kathleen sebelius is expected to decide whether to enact the recommendations. congressman norton, you voted for the healthcare bill is this something that you had in mind that government would step in and stay free pills, free birth control for all women? >> in a country where almost half of pregnancies are unintended, contraceptive services like most services of a physician, should not be subject to a special surcharge. >> well let's be clear when we say free nothing is free coming out of washington and the fact is in we want the government micro managing healthcare more and costs to go up for everybody then this is the way we did go. i do not think it is a good idea. >> we are 31st out of 44
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developed countries in maternal mortality. this is an issue of preventing death. when you have a woman who gets pregnant i mean it's not just about the baby and growing a child. it's about putting yourself at risk. >> i think free is a misnomer. there in lies the rub. someone will have to pay for it and that when we get into problems. >> there are two questions. one is should birth control be covered? and the other is should anything be free? because it does have the effect of driving up healthcare costs. >> i think we ought to clarify something here. if you look at the materials i've read and i have not looked at the original report, over and over again, the comparison is to services. now, when you get into birth control, you also get into some pharmaceuticals like pills, you get into things that do cost money. now, the hhs secretary is
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the final arbitor of which of these services most of what they are comparing it to are for example, screenings, and the like when you are talking about birth control, you are talking about a whole range in screenings. i would not assume for example, that pills are going to be free. and i think we ought to wait and see what the interpretation of the hhs secretary is consistent with how much money is in the bill in the first place after all is paid for. >> i think most of the advocates pushing for want anything the fda approved as birth control to be available and i think to your point, the question is should this be something that is everybody is forced to be a part of. i am all for choice. but does mandate that every health insurance plan in the country will have this means people who are opposed to birth control and people who don't need birth control have to sign up for the plans. and if you look at the states, the states that have
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the most mandated benefits, they are the ones with the highest health insurance premiums in the country and that is what we will see happening at the federal level and i think people -- they may not be counting the costs yet. >> i think we are talking about co-pay here for people who already have insurance in an insurance industry are you spreading risks and costs from one group to another. and i think we also need to talk about the cost of what happens when you do have an unintended pregnancy and all the things that happen to women, depression, those have costs to them also. >> and there are number that say 40% end in abortion. so if what you are trying to do is hold down abortions then you can make a case for this. but it is problematic in that i mean there is a cost question that is one question and the other question is the religious question, if you will. and there are people who feel strongly about this. and should they be forced to
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pay for it? >> well, people pay for a lot of things that they don't feel --. >> it doesn't make it right. >> we should pay for less. >> maybe there is a group out there that doesn't think women should have mammograms. what if you have feelings about that? >> we ought to have free market health insurance. >> in the free market people are paying for it. the question before the house is whether a government, a government edic should say they must pay for t because will you find in the insurance that you have does not have a special co-pay. and let me be clear about something else. there is a co-pay and then a co-pay for a special service. now many of these people have a co-pay. now this is an additional co-pay we are talking about. for a birth control service. the lawyers have to get down to this and i will bet you that she will choose some and not all that has been recommended by the physicians group.
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>> well, that will be an interesting question. charming position. secretary kathleen sebelius gets the fun things put in her lap. but the whole business of how this law is going to be enacted interpreted is going to be very interesting. but this one i find kind of a surprise in a way. because it seems to be lumped into the same category as blood pressure tests or immunizations. which the law is pretty clear on that they should be free. and i guess the question --. >> immunize me against babies. the average woman would want to make sure that you understood that most women are fertile. and therefore the whole notion of protecting against that is in many ways the most important immunization
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you can get. >> i have a health savings account and i choose what services i consume and i pay for those out of pocket. my husband chooses what he pays for. and i would prefer -- and he doesn't. but i think having that choice element is important for people and once we encourage people to spend their own money they will make the choices accordingly. >> that is the problem. their own money. this is to enable people who don't have as much money and paying for the birth control may be an impediment to protecting yourself to make it more readily accessible. and i point out that the report talks about the health benefits of having birth control pills and different forms of birth control. >> for -- i don't want to get in a debate about planned parenthood all the money that they are taking is to give out birth control to the populations who don't have money to pay for it. so we are doing this and many cases it's not stopping pregnancies. >> first of all i never say
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that about planned parenthood having served on the national board i never say that. they do exams. >> do they not give out a lot of birth control? >> they do. >> again, put this in perspective, most of the services that you get from a fishtion do not have a special co-pay. and the real question before the house is should this service be singled out for a special co-pay? we've got to focus in object what the question is. is it so singular, so non-essential that it should be taken out? because the purpose of this new conglomeration of things and it will exclude many things is to say what is essential for a woman. i would say contraception is an essential service. >> and we also have had the spector of insurance paying for erectile dysfunction drugs. >> and i am opposed to that, too.
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>> i think we should move on. >> we got an agreement. >> from birth control to marriage. the opposite direction. >> same sex couples will marry in new york this weekend as the state becomes the 6th and largest in the nation to legalize gay marriage. while the gay community is celebrating, concerns remain because the marriages are not recognized for federal benefits and protections. the senate judiciary committee began hearings to change that by repealing the defense of marriage act. the 1996 law defines marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman. >> most of the federal benefits that accrue to married couples are there to protect families and so many of our gay friends are having children. and the answer they gave in the hearing was powerful there was a family outside of albany that adopted three special needs kids. and the risk for that family of one parent dying means that second parent may not have an income, may not have
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any safety net to protect her and her children or him and his children and there may not be any of those federal protections whether social security benefits or healthcare benefits. those things really matter to families. >> opponents of gay marriage say the defense of marriage act doma was designed to protect traditional marriage and repealing it would force states to recognize same sex marriages. the obama administration supports efforts to abolish doma. >> what do you think? is it going to be repealed? >> i don't think so not in this congress we have an election year coming up in 2012. i think the vast majority of americans when in the ballot boxes we've seen state after state support traditional marriage i think there is a reason that president obama when he ran as candidate obama was for the defense of marriage act as opposed to what he is saying now. >> that is an important point. not in this congress but it's going to happen. i think looking at polling on this issue, young
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generations are very open to gay marriage this is an issue that is changing. and i think if not now then in five years. but i think it's just a matter of time until it happens. >> not in this congress. of course not in this congress. it will not raise the debt limit. how are you going to get to doma? not in this congress but i agree. here we have old republican and young republican. >> independent. independent. >> i love being called old. >> i love being called old, yes. >> and she likes more being called a republican. no, i just want to say even given the generational notion which of course is at work here, there is another important notion. americans once they get to see gay people up close like them, look at don't ask don't tell, we are seeing this generational change happen across the barrier much more quickly than anybody anticipated.
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>> it's quite remarkable. the way that the polls shifted on this and it does seem debra, to be a response to people just knowing gay couples. >> i agree. it's very hard to look at uruguay friends who are a couple and adopted children or had children through some method. and say to them no you cannot be a couple you cannot be afforded federal protections. and i agree with congressman lewis when he said dr. martin luther king, jr. would consider this a civil rights issue. we used to have a prohibitions against interracial marriages and say that could not be a marriage. i don't have a problem. the church can call a marriage who they want to call a marriage but when we are talking about benefits that should be afforded to all americans that is where people are making the distinction. >> we can get into the debate whether gay marriage is right or now, the fact is where people in any state in the country have been given the chance to vote on it and
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there's 31, voters everytime in states like california rejected it. only has gay marriage passed when the courts put it into play or a state legislator put it into play. the state is the right way to go because the folks are elected officials. and yes, i think you are right that younger folks are more accepting of gay marriage but younger people grow up as younger people -- let me finish this -- and to say they start looking at the long-term implications of things that it can change their mind on this. and i will say i think when you redefine marriage as we redefine divorce laws in the country 30 years ago with no fault divorce it had serious implications on the family in this country. and you will see that same thing by redefining marriage whether it's gay marriage or transgender marriage whatever is going to happen. it will redefine what the family looks like and i don't think in a way that --. >> can you make a case that divorce has an impact on
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marriage. but marriage having an impact on marriage is another question. >> no, i agree. and i personally, i think gay marriage is fine. taking a step back to be a libertarian, i don't think the states should be in the business of saying what is and isn't a marriage. but as you mentionedded once you start to get into what benefits can be afforded to people if people can have social security benefitors medicare or inheritance taxes, i think that is point i cannot be a libertarian. i think it is a civil right issue. >> and this is what i think it will take. it will take what it's always taken. it will take a couple who dies let's say it's somebody who gets killed in the service. and they have a couple of children. and the male or the female part of that same sex couple is left with the children and no way to support these
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children but would in fact have gotten a veterans pension or old age pension and if that situation is put to the public, you will see people look at the people and stop looking at the concept or at their own tradition. and ask what is best for those children? >> that is where the elimination of don't ask don't tell in the military then makes the scenario like you've described possible. right now you can't talk about it. >> but the one thing i will say that we have not touched on going back to your point debra i think at some point we have to think religious liberty will become an issue. you say right now churches can do what they want. well, we see places where churches cannot do what they want. pasters and others are told you cannot speak out against homosexuality they are forced to hold -- let me finish. you have people who are personally for their religious reasons opposed to gay marriage. and they will say i don't
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care your operation has to hold the ceremony because are you discriminating. it's not your photographer that wants to be hired for the wedding. and you are discriminating and you are prosecuted that has already happened in the country. so the idea that --. >> you just named everything you named was not a religious issue. the public accommodation laws cover gay people too. so if you hold yourself out that weddings can be done you cannot say no gay weddings. >> you can violate my religious beliefs. >> everybody has a different religious beliefs and that is the freedom of this country. >> but you ought to be able to practice them not be forced --. >> you can practice them in your church, your minister, your priest i will not perform that. >> that is your business. that is your business. >> not religion. >> this argument will continue. but now we are going to go behind the headlines to anne mulcahy a c.e.o. of xerox she took the fortune 500 company from the brink of
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bankruptcy to a profitable corporation and now using her leadership savvy to help women and children sgerlly. the linkage between the status of women and how well-educated they are and the actual economic prosperity of the country is very, very powerful. so to the degree that we can progress the status of women and children in these developing countries, the reality is that they become better markets they are more secure they are better partners and literally have a really positive impact on the developed world. >> always the business women. anne mulcahy is now chairman of the board of save the children. the seeds for her forray into the non-profit world were planted during her days in corporate america. >> i was raising money when i was in my corporate role for the earthquakes in pakistan and went with other c.e.o.s to pakistan, save the children was on the ground and doing extraordinary work.
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in pakistan and it sort of stuck in my mind that is the kind of organization i would love to be a part of. >> when mulcahy retired from xerox after 34 years, she remembered that trip to pakistan. >> i wanted to make a change and i've always had a belief that if you are privileged to have a role like that, your post c.e.o. life should be about hopefully making a difference in a world of social responsibilities. >> she says her corporate background comes in handy in her new role. >> if you've had a long career in the corporate world, your relationships your ability to get visibility towards important topics becomes very important. there is a discipline in the corporate world about return on investment and metrics that are expected by donors these days in the non-profit world are also enhanced by some of that corporate experience. so it's not so much the corporate set of skills versus the non-profit set of skills.
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it's the combination that i think is so powerful. >> her work with save the children has taken her to many places helping women and children in need. >> i'm going back to haiti for the third time and to witness and be there tore the opening of two new schools. that's will provide safer access to education and also train teachers? but i've spent time in afghanistan and iraq which represent very challenging problems for children when you look at the mortality rates for children under the age of 5. i just came back from ethiopia where we have a longstanding large program, very close collaboration with the government of ethiopia in supporting both community healthcare initiatives as well as education. >> but anne mulcahy wants people to realize you don't have to be a c.e.o. to help. >> if you log on to goodgoes.org you will see a set of straightforward
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simple ways you can make a difference. whether it is a $10 care package for a newborn and mother or a very modest investment to fund the community health worker that can touch many, many lives and have a broader impact or simply passing on the challenge and creating more awareness within communities about what can be done and how you can personally touch and impact you know the lives of children. >> well, by way of full disclosure, i should say i do a great deal of work with anne mulcahy as a trustee of save the children and have taken some of those trips with her and she is doing a terrific job that interview was done before i knew i was doing this program. but we have seen a lot of this c.e.o.s coming in to non-profits and taking over there. >> well, i hope it is a trend that we do see become a true trend because i think that look anyone who
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volunteers time to a non-profit is doing worthwhile work but the c.e.o. at the level that she is the experience she can bring to the table is something that so many non-profits are in need of that business expertise. and i think it's wonderful to see what she is doing. >> it's not a trend and that is why we are doing this clip on it. and i think it's very interesting that it is a woman who steps out in front perhaps to make a trend. if you want to be cynical about it you will say well she did well and now she will do good because the c.e.o.s make so much money but i often ask myself because i served on the board of three fortune 500 companies and they are required to retire early i do not see anything more of them. these are very --. >> we have had male c.e.o.s taking over save the children before. we were glad to get a woman. but i your point is very
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interesting point. what is the second life of all of these very highly trained experts? >> i think it's interesting and i love to see she can leverage her skills and connections into a good cause going forward. right now i'm trying to get women to write for me as women who have left the workforce or been in and out of the workforce for children and this is a any iteration of her career. i love that she can reinvent herself. >> and she is valuable and it points out a private versus public type work. and that she points out that you really need to bring these skills together to help these developing countries. grow themselves and economically and certainly, women and children are a huge part of that equation. it shows if you take care of your children you take care your women and educate them you will change the world. >> you totally change a country and there's data to support that. but of course it is a
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private public partnership. i mean all of these kinds of development work is not singular to the private sector. a lot of u.s.a. id money is in there and all that. do you see that it might discourage regular people when they see the fancy people in charge? >> i think angelina jolie has done a terrific job at raising the profile of the u.n. for the refugees. i think that as anne said you can do a lot. $10 for the red cross we've seen with the programs $10 makes a big difference in pakistan and haiti. and i think it's bringing more attention to these topics that we would not normally. >> cokie raises an interesting point the way ads work is more and more you look at people who look just like us and look just as ugly and as bad as we do. and somehow we are supposed to identify with these people. but the fact is that there is a celebrity fever in this
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country. and maybe there always has been so the whole notion that i am doing the same thing as somebody famous appeals to people. never has appealed to me. but if it gets people --. >> because are you for the underdog. >> true. >> i think it's fantastic because it raises awareness on these issues. very few of us i have been privileged to travel around the world and go to ethiopia and address the issues but few of us get a chance to do that and everyone can participate and it brings awareness and knowledge. >> it is a great way to end the program is to have everyone participate with awareness and knowledge and that's it for this edition of "to the contrary." next week, paying the poor to end poverty. check us out on our website or ttt extra and whether your views are in agreement or to the contrary, please join us next time.
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